TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Friday is the first day of a new state budget as Florida will spend just over $82 billion this year, a $3 billion increase from last year.
The state payroll will still be one of the most frugal in the nation. About 113,000 jobs are authorized in the budget, but the state has consistently ranked 50th in per capita cost for running government.
In the minute and 45 seconds Shannon Sullivan waited at a stop light, the state spent nearly $300,000, with $10,000 of it going to protect children.
In the two minutes and 15 seconds Denise Sage was at the bank, Florida spent just over $46,000 fixing and building roads.
“It’s better spent on, maybe on some bike lanes and mass transit, but it’s not bad," Sage said.
Florida spent $26,000 in the 10 seconds it took postal worker Jason Comfort to drop off mail at an office. Of that, $7,500 went to schools.
Florida spent $117,000 in the time it took Edward Johnson to use an ATM.
"That’s why we pay taxes through government to help people who need help," Johnson said. "I’m glad to do my part. Yes, sir."
The state is going to spend just over $6 million a day keeping people in prison, but many think that number could be lower. The organization Smart Justice believes the prison population could be cut by a third if minimum mandatory sentences were eased and inmates got drug counseling behind bars.
"That will save hundreds of millions of dollars going forward," said Barney Bishop, of Smart Justice Institute.
Lawmakers used $420 million to offset higher property taxes for schools.